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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

LIFE   OF
and Humboldt at once remembered the volcanos
mentioned in Chinese books as lying far from the
ocean, and which had excited much surprise among
geologists in Klaproth/s and Amusat's literary de-
scriptions. Humboldt subsequently obtained more
acctirate information from the Russian police-director
of Semipalatinsk, von Klostermarm. He devoted
special attention to this subject, and on his return
composed a highly interesting sketch of the geo-
graphy of this little-known district, with the object
of bringing the remarkable volcano into organic re-
lation with the other phenomena and conditions of
the district.
The famed rock-salt mines of Jlc!zk, in the steppe
of the minor tribe of Kirghicles, and the chief station
of the Uralskian Cossacks, was the next point on
his journey. Then he arrived at the German colonies
on the Wolga, in the department of Saratow, at the
large salt-lake Elton ; and then visited the fine colony
of Moravian brethren in Sarepta, and arrived in
Astrachan, on the Caspian Sea, in the middle of
October.
His chief objects in this expedition to the Caspian
Sea were to analyze the waters of the largest inlaiad
sea of the world with chemical accuracy, and to dis-
cover its constituent elements—a task which Gustav
Hose undertook; then to make barometric measure-
ments comparative to tBe measurements in Orenburg,
Sarepta, and Kasan, and to collect zoological trea-
sures. The specimens of fish from the Caspian Sea
were to complete the work on fishes by Cuvier and
Valenciennes,* and Humboldt arranged a little excur-
sion by steamer on this*lake, for the purpose of
collecting them.
From Astrachan they returned to Moscow, over the
isthmus which separates the rivers Don and Wolga,
near Tischinskaya, through the territory of the Don
^ * Of the fish here caught., Humboldt sent a very complete collec-
tion to the Museum of Natural History, in the Botanical Gardens of
Paris.